Portsmouth keen to build on first win

Portsmouth coach Jim Pearce     Picture: Neil Marshall
Portsmouth coach Jim Pearce Picture: Neil Marshall
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Portsmouth travel to Old Tonbridgians in London two south west tomorrow (3pm) looking to build on their first win of the season.

After three consecutive defeats, the city club got off the mark with a win over Effingham & Leatherhead last weekend.

It took a last-minute try from Damian Gibbs to clinch the victory but assistant coach Jim Pearce was relieved to see his team finally win.

‘It is always important to get the first win under your belt,’ he said.

‘We showed great resolve to come back at the death to snatch it, particularly after conceding a 79th-minute try.

‘The control that we showed to go through so many phases and get the winning score was impressive.

‘I have to say it was some of the best close-quarter rugby I have seen from the team.

‘The players were determined not to give it up and I am looking for them to take that fighting spirit into this game.

‘Our opponents are a bit of an unknown because they have only come up into our league this season.

‘In a way that helps because it means that we can focus on our own performance.

‘It is important that we keep heading in the right direction.

‘In training we have been working on the things that didn’t go to plan in the last game.’

Portsmouth are forced to make a number of changes to their winning team because of a mixture of injury and unavailability.

Alex Duffs returns at scrum-half, partnering Simon Morgan who himself comes in for the injured Andy Barnes.

The visitors are hoping to have Curtis Barnes and Hamish Layborne back on the wings.

In the forwards, Damian Gibbs – who scored two tries in the last game – is unavailable for selection.

That means Luke Richardson moves across to number eight, with Darren Leggott returning in the second row.

United Services Portsmouth are in London three south west derby action against Eastleigh at Burnaby Road.

The home side are keen to get back to winning ways after suffering two consecutive defeats.

They will need to show a big improvement to achieve that against their unbeaten visitors.

In Hampshire two, Southsea Nomads are looking to continue their winning start at Alresford.